I love seeing and talking to my grandchildren on Skype. It doesn’t surprise me then that interactive video calls can also be a means for toddlers and children to learn, and to develop and maintain relationships with others.
In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics discouraged screen time for kids under 2 years of age. These guidelines were developed when the screen time was prerecorded video. This type of screen time is a sedentary activity, inactive rather than interactive. These videos don’t react or respond to those viewing it. Children spending too much passive screen time were found to have poor language skills and to miss out on other activities that were important for development.
Skype and FaceTime are different. Lauren Myers, PhD and colleagues at Lafayette College have demonstrated that video chat provides for an interactive relationship with others. This is great news for grandparents and parents.
Children in Myer’s study quickly noticed the difference between live and prerecorded video. Children were more interactive with the FaceTime live video, rather than the prerecorded video used in the study. They learned social information – they preferred and recognized someone they had met via video chat. They also learned cognitive information like new words and patterns.
The conclusion is that children will engage and learn from screen time interactions. Video chat with Skype and FaceTime can represent quality time with your children or grandchildren.
Contact me and share your video call ideas www.videocallwithkids.com
100+ Fun Activities For Skype With Children is now available as both an eBook and paperback book on Amazon. Since 2010 when I first interacted with my grandson on Skype I have been on a mission to help families connect with video call.
Discover easy, age appropriate & educational activities for Skype, FaceTime, and video call with children. With video call you can see and interact with the person that you are calling – it’s much more fun than a telephone call. Learn how Skype & FaceTime can connect you with family when you travel for work, if you are in the military, are divorced, or miles away from grandchildren. Readers will also find useful advice for communicating with children and young adults from infancy through the college years. Also included are important internet safety tips for children and adults. Get ready to enjoy Skype and FaceTime with the children you love.
The eBook can be easily downloaded and taken along with you when you travel. It is short and inexpensive but chock full of ideas that you can quickly access.
Readers will find age appropriate activities and advice for communicating with children and young adults from infancy through the college years.
• Explore more than one hundred ideas for fun activities to enjoy with video call apps like Skype and FaceTime
• Learn how to begin connecting with infants and babies during a video chat
• Explore ideas for video calls with school age children, teens and college age student
• Find useful tips for improving communication with children
• Discover the value of video chat for grandparents
• Learn how to stay connected to your child or grandchild after divorce
• Learn about internet safety for both children and adults
Get ready to enjoy Skype and FaceTime with the children you love.
Dyslexia, a specific learning disability, is quite common in children. The prevalence is estimated to be between 10-15 percent of children in the US, although far fewer children are diagnosed.
The child with dyslexia may have difficulty in reading, spelling and performing skills related to the use of printed language. It is thought that dyslexia is an inherited trait which runs in families. It is not low intelligence or laziness.
Children who have dyslexia benefit greatly by reading with an adult. Being a child’s reading buddy is a wonderful role for grandparents or for a parent who is not in residence because of work travel, military assignment, or divorce.
Reading using video call apps like Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangouts you can help a child advance their reading skills. There are also several new apps that can be downloaded either free or purchased that also can make reading fun. Some apps are just for iPad users; however, Ustyme is one that has been developed for both iPad and PC use. http://www.ustyme.com/index.html. Others include Rootz, http://www.family-rootz.com/ and Caribu http://caribuapp.com/.
In the United States schools have a legal obligation to help children with dyslexia. Best results are achieved when dyslexia is diagnosed early, in kindergarten or first grade.
Reading with an adult using video call apps can be great fun. Take turns with the child, each reading one page. Asking questions about the story helps develop comprehension and thinking skills. Learning the sounds that letters make and developing phonemic awareness is important for developing skill in reading. To learn more about the techniques that teachers and tutors use for enhancing reading skills search the internet for Five Big Ideas in reading.
To learn more about dyslexia explore the internet. Two sites I can recommend are:
Have fun reading and share your ideas with me
One of the activities all my grandchildren love to share on Skype is reading books with sound. It all began when I purchased Dinosaur written by Mark Radar and illustrated by Casey Sanborn. Dinosaur, whose name is Stegosaurus, is searching for his friend Frog. There is a button to make the sound of Stegosaurus, a second button to hear Stegosaurus stomp as he searches and a third button to hear Frog. What child doesn’t enjoy a game of hid and seek!
“Grammy, read Dinosaur.” All my grandchildren began to request that I read this book. When they came to visit the book was there for us to read together and it was enjoyed as an old familiar friend. Since that time I have added other books with sound. Roger Priddy has written many including Noisy Trucks. Others include Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Bill Martin and Around The Farm by Eric Carle. Consider reading books with sound as they have great appeal to children 16 months to school age.
It’s so much fun to share your love face-to-face with those you are separated from. Skype and FaceTime can help you to give the best Valentine’s gift of all. It’s easy and it’s free! Almost all computers come with a video call application (app). Apple computers come with FaceTime and those using Microsoft Windows come with Skype. You can download Skype to any computer if you don’t have it.
Parents and grandparents separated from the children they love can talk about what love is and their love for the child. “Daddy loves you and I’m so happy to see you on this special day.” Read to the child one of many children’s books with a Valentine’s theme, here are just a few:
Happy Valentine’s Day, Curious George by N. DiAngelo and Mary O’Keefe Young
My Fuzzy Valentine (Sesame Street) by Naomi Kleinberg and Louis Womble
Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril
The Story of Valentine’s Day by Nancy Skarmeas
Don’t forget to blow a kiss when you say good-by. Even very young children enjoy catching your kisses and sending their love to you with a kiss on a video call.
If the teens you want to stay in touch with are reluctant to communicate try Skype or FaceTime. My friend Barbara recently told me that her teen grandchildren were communicating less often than when they were younger. Then she discovered Skype and began to enjoy the video chats so much more than telephone calls. Being able to see expressions and changes as children grow – and grow up – is a precious gift. With video chats parents and grandparents who are separated from their children can continue to play an important role in providing guidance to teens if they continue to be available to communicate on tough issues.
In my book Learn To Video Call With Children I provide examples of open-ended questions that will get more than a yes or no answer. The questions are appropriate for all ages, including teens. Some examples are: Can you tell me what you know about that? What is the best thing that happened today? What is the worst thing that happened? What do you think you should have done?
Growing up isn’t easy. Many teens assume that parents and grandparents don’t understand them – and sometimes we don’t. It is not unusual to experience a disconnect with teens. Some key points that you can consider when video calling with teens:
1. Listen and try to understand without confronting, even if you disagree.
2. Keep your comments short and don’t lecture.
3. Ask questions to explore thoughts & behaviors before making assumptions.
4. Be willing to praise rather than criticize.
Here are some webpages with other suggestions:
Send me some of your favorite stories about communicating with teens using video call.
Celebrating holidays is great fun with apps like Skype and FaceTime. Watching youngsters participate in favorite traditions while making a video call is almost like being right in their home.
Here are a few suggestions to help you celebrate:
- Help to decorate a Christmas tree by mailing a few ornaments and watch as they are placed on the tree; set up the Nativity scene while family members are present during a video call.
- During Hanukkah enjoy the Menorah tradition by lighting the Shamash and then the appropriate candle for that day; children will enjoy spinning the dreidel.
- Participate in the rich African cultural traditions celebrating family, friends and community during Kawanzaa. Create a mkeka (Kawanzaa mat) and place the holiday symbols on or near the mkeka. Help to build tolerance for others by teaching children about holiday traditions other than your own.
While on Skype we sing holiday songs and watch the smiling faces of our excited grandchildren. They run to get the artwork that they produced and bring it right to the webcam so we can see it clearly and shower them with praise. Scholastic has published a series of Rookie Read-About Holiday books with titles for more than fifteen different holidays. Read a book together during the holidays. All this is possible when you learn to Skype or FaceTime.
Send me your favorite holiday ideas!
Give yourself a Halloween treat with Skype and FaceTime. My children, now adults, loved Halloween and now I am excited to see the wonderful playfulness in my grandchildren as they prepare for the big day. Fall is a great time to make video calls. A trip to the pumpkin patch for the perfect pumpkin can be shared with a video call. Children can’t wait to get their hands on (and in) that pumpkin. After carving, the face that emerges as a Jack-o-lantern is magical to children. When it glows in the dark it’s even more fun. Excitedly, they ask to make a video call to show others their pumpkins and their costumes.
One grandson will be a dinosaur, another will be a superhero – it’s fun for them to dream about what they would like to be and to learn that they can be whatever they would like to be. You can’t see the grins, pumpkins and costumes during a telephone call but you don’t miss any of it with a video call.
October is a time when parents and grandparents can share the fun of Halloween. Children can practice their good manners as they respond with a thank-you when they receive a treat. They can gather in groups with friends and neighbors, be silly, giggle, and smile at compliments about their costumes. If your are not living close enough to be with a child that you love on Halloween, share a video call and have some fun.
Share your Halloween treats using Skype and FaceTime with us
If you are ever grounded after breaking a bone, Skype or Facetime can come to your rescue. Returning home from vacation I had my wings clipped after a tumble down the stairs of a US Airways flight from Myrtle Beach to Charlotte. I didn’t make it home until the next day. When I arrived I was wearing a cast to stabilize broken bones in my arm and hand.
My four year old grandson was fascinated that Grammy had a cast. He wanted to see it, and I was able to show it to him while making a video call. We had a good chat about stairs and safety.
Then I learned that the bones in my arm were not healing as they should. I needed to have surgery to correct the problem. That grounded me for an additional two weeks. I felt sad about having a plate and screws holding my arm together for the rest of my life. Friends and family were so supportive but the irresistible energy and bright smiles of my three grandchildren and the reassurance from my own children during video calls really made me smile. Today’s technology eliminates the need to be isolated. Just signing on to a video call app welcomes those we love into our homes, even when you are separated by thousands of miles.
Life is full of surprises, nevertheless we don’t have to be alone in dealing with them.
Contact me and share your video call ideas www.videocallwithkids.com
Skype has great support for users and it’s easy to find answers to your questions on their site. When you sign on just select Help at the top of the screen and then select Go to Support. Right at the top of the page is a large search window. Just type in your question and click on the magnifying glass on the right, or hit enter to search for an answer. You can also look for answers below the search box where you will find three columns. The first helps you to search through frequently asked questions – FAQ. The second offers How to Guides and the third column has articles about what’s new in Skype.
Scroll down to the bottom of the support screen and you will see a list of many topics that might be of interest to you. As I teach others to use Skype I often come across questions about features that I have not used myself. I can find the answers here about using Skype for messaging, connecting to Facebook, using different devices and much more………..
Recently Skype has added video instructions which is most helpful for those of us who are visual learners. They are short and specific to the topic and I highly recommend you try them. You can find these videos for a variety of topics in the support section. It took me a while to locate them until I noticed a link in the Community bar on the left of the support page. You can also find them without signing into your Skype account by going to: skype.com/essentials . Right now I am finding videos for windows and not Mac products. There are however, many guides for Mac products in the FAQ section.
Contact me and share your video call ideas